Are you experiencing financial distress? Do you worry constantly about paying your bills and debt? Well, you’re not alone. The latest surveys from The American Psychological Association (APA) survey show that 72% of adults stress about money. It’s normal to be stressed financially; paying bills, settling debts, and dealing with emergencies can leave one overwhelmed.
While it’s quite common to experience financial stress from time to time, it’s unhealthy when it affects your mental health and disrupts your daily activities.
Financial distress can cause anxiety, isolation, depression, and other mental health complications. However, taking charge of your finances by developing coping strategies can help you combat financial crises and protect your mental health.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the impact of financial distress on your mental health, including the best coping tips and strategies.
Let’s get started.
Financial Distress and Your Mental Health
Your relationship with money plays a significant role in your mental health – poor finances often mean poor mental health if adequate precautions aren’t taken. Over the years, studies have revealed that people with poor finances often experience higher rates of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges.
Let’s take a look at some statistics:
- 46% of people in debt also have a mental health problem
- 39% of people with a mental health problem said their financial situation aggravates their mental health issues
- People with depression and debt are 2 times more likely to still have depression 18 months later than people without financial difficulty.
- 37% of people who have experienced mental health problems face major anxiety problems dealing with essential activities.
- 29% of people with mental health issues report they won’t be able to make ends meet for less than a month if their family loses its primary source of income.
Financial distress often comes with economic challenges. However, you must adopt coping strategies to prevent it from affecting your mental health. Below are tips to keep your mental health in check when experiencing financial difficulties.
Financial distress can leave you unhappy, unmotivated, and unexcited about everything. This is probably when you prefer to curl up in bed and worry. Sadly, doing this can take a toll on your mental health as it will increase your worry levels, leading to anxiety and depression.
So, get up and do something. You could start with a short walk to the store or a long morning run. You could also act toward getting your finances back on track, including tracking your expenses or making some investments.
Face your fears
Coping with your finances requires facing your fears, no matter how convenient it is to avoid them. This involves confronting the part of your finances that challenges you. It may include going through your debts, summing up how much you owe, opening up to someone, and prioritizing your debt.
Also, if your current financial state makes you anxious and has stopped you from doing certain activities, facing these situations head-on can help you overcome your fears and feel better. It will prevent constant worry and anxiety about it, safeguarding your mental health.
Don’t put your daily activities on hold
Financial stress can make you give up on your routine. You may stop doing what you usually do, affecting other aspects of your life, including your mental health.
So, if you go to school, work, visit friends, and never miss breakfast, don’t start skipping meals and other activities on your daily schedule as it may affect your mental health in the long run.
Keep a positive mindset
It may be daunting to keep a positive mindset when you have tons of bills and debts to pay. However, maintaining a positive approach to the situation can protect you from negative thinking, anxiety, and depression, protecting your mental health.
Therefore, focus on solutions instead of problems, look out for good news and opportunities, practice gratitude, and avoid exposure to negativity.
There will be some things you can’t control, so don’t focus on those. Instead, pay attention to things you have control over. For example, while you may have no control over inflation, you can manage your expenses by budgeting and cutting down on some costs. Doing this will help you save money, and it will also help you feel accomplished, releasing feel-good hormones and reducing stress.
Take an inventory of your finances
Write out your financial challenges and create a plan to tackle them, one step at a time. Setting simple, realistic goals is best, so you do not overwhelm yourself. For example, list out the activities you can do daily to achieve a financial milestone and stick to it. You can start with documenting your daily expenses to track spending.
Accomplishing your goals will make you feel like you are getting back control over your finances because you are. As a result, your optimism will increase, and you will worry less, improving your mental health.
Self-care is crucial to maintaining mental health, especially when experiencing financial distress. So, take breaks if you need to. Exercise, embrace self-love, and do things that make you happy. Doing this can help you de-stress from your worries and challenges.
Mental Health Coping Strategies for Financial Distress
There are specific coping mechanisms to deal with financial anxiety and depression. Let’s examine them below.
Focus on your mental state
Although this may seem counterintuitive, it’s best to take a break from your financial worries and focus on yourself. This is because it’s impossible to combat economic challenges when you are stuck with financial concerns. So, pay attention to your mental state. Do things that help you relax, and put you in the right headspace to tackle your financial problems.
This could include spending less time on social media and getting enough sleep. Reducing intake of processed food, sweets, caffeine, etc. Nourishing your mind with healthy food can also help you stay active mentally to make the best financial decisions.
So, limit ready-made meals and junk food, and choose a healthy diet. You can also dedicate some time daily to blow off steam before calculating your expenses or making any financial decisions. For example, you can do some jumping jacks, breathing exercises, etc. Adopting these practices will put you in a healthy mental state, preventing anxiety and helping you take the proper steps to improve your finances.
Reach out for support
Financial stress and anxiety can compound when you isolate yourself. It causes overthinking, which may increase your pressure and cause depression. So while this may seem like the best time to withdraw from people and keep to yourself, staying in touch with your loved ones is critical. You can text, call or visit them.
If you are not ready to open up about your financial concerns, spending time around them is enough to take your mind off your worries. When you are ready, discuss your financial stress and tell them how you feel. You may not get the solutions you seek, but opening up will help you feel better. Although your economical challenges aren’t the most exciting things to discuss, communicating how you feel and asking for support can help you manage stress better.
Some people will be happy to help if you reach out. Therefore, connect with friends, family, or a support group. Sharing your experiences and staying around them can help you think less about your current situation, preventing mental stress.
Go out and help someone else. The positive feelings of helping other people will help you feel better. Also, volunteering keeps you mentally and physically active, which prevents overthinking. You won’t dwell on your financial state, controlling anxiety and depression.
Do something creative
Engage in exciting, creative activities that help you feel good about yourself. For example, you can paint, draw, or try another new and exciting skill that makes you happy. You can try out fun outdoor games, new recipes or a foreign language. Trying out new things boosts your self-esteem, giving you the confidence to tackle your financial challenges. Exciting activities also release feel-good hormones that enhance your mood, eliminating stress.
Have the right attitude
Embracing the right attitude toward your financial state can eliminate stress. A positive attitude will change your feelings about the situation regardless of your financial condition. So embrace positivity rather than negative and depressive thoughts. This will prevent stress and anxiety.
Combating financial stress can be pretty challenging. So, if you can’t do it independently, seek professional help. A therapist will give you the tools and insights to cope with financial distress effectively. They will also keep you accountable to your goals, ensuring you adopt the correct practices to prevent stress.
Understanding the strategies to cope with financial distress can keep you in control of your finances and mental well-being. Follow the tips and practices discussed in this article to improve your financial and mental health. Also, visit our portal to explore other resources relating to mental health.